Erich Fisher

Post-doctoral Researcher

Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB)
Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais
Universidade do Algarve
Campus de Gambelas
8005-139 Faro

(+351) 289 800 900


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9499-6093

CIÊNCIA ID: 9B1B-910B-3403



Adjunct Researcher

Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Matthews Center., Rm. 203D


Honorary Researcher

Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa


Associate Member

Centre for Coastal Palaeosciences, Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela University, Summerstrand South Campus, PO Box 77000, Port Elizabeth 6031

Research Interests

My research navigates between innovating methodological approaches to the study of people in the past using digital and computation technologies and applying these applications to document the ecological and cultural coevolution of hunter-gatherers during the Pleistocene. My primary geographic foci are the Horn of Africa and southern Africa, and I specialize in archaeoinformatics, 3D modeling, and field excavation.Besides being an experienced educator and mentor at both graduate and undergraduate levels, I also have abundant experience in fundraising and multimedia public outreach for scientific research. An example of this kind of work is my YouTube web series, “Before Us,” provides lighthearted and engaging discussions with different researchers about living and working in remote field locations in Africa:

Short Bio

Erich received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2010. Before joining ICArEHB in 2021, he was a researcher at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. He is also an Honorary Researcher at the Evolutionary Studies Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand and an Associate Member in the Centre for Coastal Palaeosciences at Nelson Mandela University. In 2011, Erich started the P5 Project (, which has now grown into an international and multidisciplinary collaboration of researchers studying hunter-gatherer adaptations to coastal environments across glacial and interglacial phases. This project, like much of Erich’s research, is inherently collaborative and interdisciplinary, drawing upon all four fields of Anthropology, natural sciences, mathematics, and technologies. Locally, Erich’s work is filling gaps in our understanding about human adaptations to glacial periods in Africa and, specifically, how past people utilized coastal resources to survive periods of climatic variability. Globally, his research provides evidence that contributes to our understanding about how Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers moved out of Africa quickly and adapted to each of the new habitats they encountered. His work, therefore, traces a continuum that began in Africa and ended with the peopling of the world.

For my complete CV please click HERE

Key Publications

Esteban, I., Bamford, M.K., Miller, C.S., Neumann, F.H., Schefuß, E., Pargeter, J., Cawthra, H.C., and Fisher, E.C. 2021. Palaeoenvironments of hunter-gatherers from MIS 3 to the Holocene in coastal Pondoland (South Africa): a biochemical and palaeobotanical approach. Quaternary Science Reviews 250: 106664.

Fisher, Erich C. 2020. “Archaeoinformatics.” Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Archaeology.

Fisher, E.C., Cawthra, H.C., Esteban, I., Jerardino, A.,, Neumann, F.H., Oertle, A., Pargeter, J., Saktura, R.B., Szabó, K., Zohar, I. 2020. Coastal occupation and foraging during the Last Glacial Maximum and Early Holocene at Waterfall Bluff, eastern Pondoland, South African. Quaternary Research. 97, 1-41. doi:10.1017/qua.2020.26

Engelbrecht, F., Marean, C.W., Cowling, R., Potts, A.J., Engelbrecht, C., Nkoana, R., O’Neal, D., Fisher, E.C., Shook, E., Franklin, J., Neumann, F., Scott, L., Thatcher, M., McGregor, J.L., Van der Merwe, J., Dedekind, Z., Difford, M. 2019. Downscaling Last Glacial Maximum climate over southern Africa, Quaternary Science Reviews. 226: 105879

Cawthra, Hayley, Jacobs, Z., Compton, JS, Fisher, E.C., Karkanas, P, Marean, CW. 2018. Depositional and sea-level history from MIS 6 (Termination II) to MIS 3 on the southern continental shelf of South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 181, 156-172

Smith, E.I., Jacobs, Z., Johnsen, R., Ren, M., Fisher, E.C., Oestmo, S., Wilkins, J., Harris, J.A., Karkanas, P., Fitch, S., Ciravolo, A., Keenan, D., Cleghorn, N., Lane, C.S., Matthews, T., Marean, C.W. 2018. Humans thrived in South Africa through the Toba eruption about 74,000 years ago, Nature 555, 511.

Copeland, S.R., Cawthra, H.C., Fisher, E.C., Lee-Thorp, J.A., Cowling, R.M., le Roux, P.J., Hodgkins, J., Marean, C.W. 2016. Strontium isotope investigation of ungulate movement patterns on the Pleistocene Paleo-Agulhas Plain of the Greater Cape Floristic Region, South Africa, Quaternary Science Reviews 141, 65-84.

Fisher, E.C., Akkaynak, D., Harris, J., Herries, A.I.R., Karkanas, P., Marean, C.W., McGrath, J., Jacobs, Z. 2015. Technical Considerations and Methodology for Creating High-resolution, Color-Corrected, and Georectified Photomosaics of Stratigraphic Sections at Archaeological Sites, Journal of Archaeological Science 57, 380-394.

Franklin, J., Potts, A.J., Fisher, E.C., Cowling, R.M., Marean, C.W. 2015. Paleodistribution modeling in archaeology and paleoanthropology, Quaternary Science Reviews 110, 1-14.

Karkanas, P., Brown, K. S., Fisher, E. C., Jacobs, Z., Marean, C. W. 2015. Interpreting human behavior from depositional rates and combustion features through the study of sedimentary microfacies at site Pinnacle Point 5-6, South Africa.  Journal of Human Evolution 85, 1-21.

Marean, C.W., Anderson, R.J., Bar-Matthews, M., Braun, K., Cowling, R.M., Engelbrecht, F., Esler, K.J., Fisher, E.C., Franklin, J., Hill, K., Janssen, M., Potts, A.J., Zahn, R. 2015. A New Research Strategy for Integrating Studies of Paleoclimate, Paleoenvironment, and Paleoanthropology. Evolutionary Anthropology 24(2), 62-72, March/April 2015.

Fisher, Erich.C., Albert, R.-M., Botha, G., Cawthra, H.C., Esteban, I., Harris, J., Jacobs, Z., Jerardino, A., Marean, C.W., Neumann, F.H., Pargeter, J., Poupart, M., Venter, J. 2013. Archaeological Reconnaissance for Middle Stone Age Sites along the Pondoland Coast, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology (104-137).

Brandt, S.A., Fisher, E.C., Hildebrand, E.A., Vogelsang, R., Ambrose, S.H., Lesur, J.P., and Wang, H. 2012. Early MIS 3 occupation of Mochena Borago Rockshelter, Southwest Ethiopian Highlands: Implications for Late Pleistocene archaeology, paleoenvironments and modern human dispersals, Quaternary International 274, 38-54.

Brown, K.S., Marean, C.W., Jacobs, Z., Schoville, B.J., Oestmo, S., Fisher, E.C., Bernatchez, J., Karkanas, P., and Matthews, T. 2012. An early and enduring advanced technology originating 71,000 years ago in South Africa, Nature 491, 590-593.

Bar-Matthews, M., Marean, C.W., Jacobs, Z., Karkanas, P., Fisher, E.C., Herries, A.I.R., Brown, K., Williams, H.M., Bernatchez, J., Ayalon, A., and Nilssen, P.J. 2010. A high resolution and continuous isotopic speleothem record of paleoclimate and paleoenvironment from 90 to 53 ka from Pinnacle Point on the south coast of South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 2131-2145.

Fisher, Erich C., Bar-Matthews, M., Jerardino, A., and Marean, C.W. 2010. Middle and Late Pleistocene paleoscape modeling along the southern coast of South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 1382-1398.

Marean, C.W., Bar-Matthews, M., Bernatchez, J., Fisher, E., Goldberg, P., Herries, A.I.R., Jacobs, Z., Jerardino, A., Karkanas, P., Minichillo, T., Nilssen, P.J., Thompson, E., Watts, I., and Williams, H.M. 2007. Early human use of marine resources and pigment in South Africa during the Middle Pleistocene. Nature 449: 905-908.


Please reference my CV for research experience.